The Crimson Empire

Viva Mezli!
Gonna set your soul on fire.

The Crew, accompanied by the ill tempered and less than popular wither, head out on ant-back across the border for Mezli. WORK IN PROGRESS

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Bring out your dead...
Death is a Bitch

The Crew, weary from their prison escape, arrive at the nearby Deathgate monastery. Tordek Grabstab and Arianna show the guards thier holy symbol and the group is let inside. They tie their ants to the horse posts, confusing some of the acolytes, and head to the tavern to sell their plunder.
On the inside of the Tavern they meet the halfling proprietor Aubrey, Lucastor gives him a hard time and Belial secretly burns his name in the tavern door but they sell all their equipment successfully. Before the leave arianna runs into her old rival Wither who has become an undertaker. Braggen and Lucastor get drunk as Fiora, Belial and Arianna meet with the High Priest Talon Greth and Arianna’s former trainer Teacher. They are confused at the news of the demon they fought and shocked at the magnitude of the slaughter of Vanguard. Greth gives them all a place to sleep for the night and ask Arianna to attend a ceremony for her return tomorrow. Braggen and Lucastor cause mischief around the monastery.

The next day they all attend Arianna’s ceremony in their finest dress, she is promoted to the rank of Memitem and given a special holy symbol to show her rank.
There is a party held afterward where all the acolytes, priests and undertakers gather to drink, smoke, and generally have fun. During all the commotion Aubrey walks into the center and after declaring “GLORY TO ORCUS!” explodes in a wave of red energy.

The crew fights of a group of skeletons and realized that a odd symbol had appeared under the area where Aubrey exploded. They began to investigate when suddenly a priest ran up from the temple and died before them, Arianna discerns that his blood was drained from a bite to the neck that Braggen recognizes as lizardfolk teeth. Before heading to the temple they take the magic items Aubrey was selling at his shop. Belial is sure the change his engraving to “Belial was not here”.
They enter the temple to find Lord Rirten waiting for them. He has come to kill them though he gives no reason. Braggen rushes him and attacks, Rirten bites him and drains some of his blood but the others also attack. Rirten changes into his vampire wolf form but its to late, he is defeated. Before dying he admits he knows the heroes did not destroy vanguard, because he was there.

The crew exits the temple and further investigate the seal. It appears to be some type of summoning circle for a devil, which is odd considering the cultist were of the demon prince Orcus( demons and devils are at war). Fiora believes that they can preform a ritual that will close the circle. It Requires primal force to give the worlds fabric, which has been cut, trust enough for healing power to be channeled in enough for arcane magic to counter the spell while divine magic cuts off Orcus’s influence. However a conduit is needed for this, a living being with no connection to any special forces. Lucastor stands ready on the seal as the conduit as the others concentrate their energies into him. The demon is partly summoned into his mind where he fights and kills it.

The portal closed the last of the cultist strike force attack but are destroyed in turn by the crew. The High priest Greth return with teacher from the catacombs where they destroyed 3 other vampires. Greth no longer thinks the monastery is safe for them and as wither is leaving in the morning for Mezli in the eastern provinces he asks her to guide them their. The hero’s rest for the night, getting sleep for their travel in the morning.

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No one Expects...
Framed, Arrested, Beaten, Pissed.

The woman who fingered The Crew in the murder of vanguards has been taken away in a police carriage. The remaining Crimson Guard approach, led by what appears to be a member of the Crimson Inquisition. The man introduces himself as Victor Javert and informs them they are under arrest pending further questioning in the case of the slaughter of Vanguard. After some debate and the assurance they will not be tried without proper evidence the crew agrees to go.

As they are all placed in the prison carriage and brought down a road they have never been on headed north, they see the remnant of the first carriage, it is in flames and the soldiers sent with it are dead. Javert decides to keep going and return after the crew is safe in prison.
As they approach the prison they realize it is the infamous Lubankia. The carriage enters its main gate, surrounded on all sides by archers and Creatures with odd animal eyes.
They are carried further into the walls, seeing 3 large building, 2 of which are obviously quarters for staff as the last is a large red cross shaped building. A bald Half-dwarf with a scar across his face steps up to the carriage which has now stopped. He identifies him self as warden hesh, a former lanista who recognizes Lucastor from his time in the arena. He welcomes them to to Lubankia prison by blasting them with a wand that causes them all to black out.

They awake in cells locked cells in the interior of the prison, they chat briefly with the other prisoners. An Autumn nymph, A dwarf named Tik, A dragonborn mercenary named gareth, and arianna recognizes the voice of her friend from Deathgate Tordek Grabstab. Gareth tells them that hesh is a malicious bastard and has sold many prisoners into slavery. It is then that a group of guards come in, they are obviously looking for someone to beat on. Lucastor begins to insult them and they choose him, as they take him out of the cell arianna feysteps out of hers and unlocks belial and fiora. Lucastor, belial and fiora fight the guards as braggen grabs one from behind. Arianna runs and frees tordek, they greet each other warmly. Belial approaches the nymph who offers to tell him a secret in return for a secret, belial chooses to trust her and reveal he killed the witch who raised him in retaliation for her planning to kill him in a spell she has trained him his entire life to complete. The autumn nymph is satisfied and tell them that hesh has a secret dungeon below his quarters, and there may be a way out as she has sent her friends to visit recently.
Lucastor releases Gareth after he proves he once was a gladiator, they hate each other right away. Braggen opens the cell for tik, who is a veteran of the unification war, he has been locked up for 15 years. He than moves to open the next cell, which seems to contain a small person. When opened they realize it is actually splurg. After some interrogation splurg tell the crew everything he know.As they walk down the stair’s towards Hesh’s quarters they come upon a group of odd guards. Belial ,thinking quickly, convinces them he and the crew are actually also guards. When asking why they are there belial tell them its a shift change and that they should go up to the cafeteria where it is Taco Thursday, his skill at deception shines through and the guards leave. Boatcrasher, seeing a Choker beast in the back of the room approaches it and yells “GO TO YOUR HOME!”. The choker runs into a room down the hall.
The guards, hungry for tacos, see the knocked out guards upstairs and realize it isn’t thursday.
They quickly turn and head back downstairs, when they reach the door however its locked. They break it down and rush inside to find that its a trap, and that it smells oddly like beer. They have been trapped on the stairs as the sides are lined with upside down chairs and the bottom has been blocked by the now flipped table. A fight breaks out and the odd guards turn out to be Wererats.
The crew moves on, finding a small torture cell that Lucastor takes the chains from. The next room is a bathing room hesh has had installed. Knowing that this is where the choker headed and seeing it isn’t here braggen and lucastor prepare to break open the bottom of the bath, belial decides to try something and turns the hot water to the right, opening the secret passage to the lower prison.
The crew isn’t done here yet though. They go into the next room, finding all their gear]. They enter hesh’s room where he and 3 other guards play poker for prisoners. They fight and quickly over take him. After some questioning at the hands of the crew (“I’M GOING TO BURN OFF YOUR SKIN!” “Well that sounds bad.”) hesh admits he doesn’t care why they are there and never intended to let them leave. Gareth asks if he can try his hand at interrogating him, he drives his sword into heshs throat killing him instantly “I guess I’m not good at it.”. Tik takes the now broken sleep stick and lucastor finds a rather racy portrait of hesh.

They all descend into the lower prison torture area, coming upon a dead priest of pelor, the god fiora worships. As she approaches the body it animates and requests she does not disturb the bodies of those hesh has killed in return for his holy symbol. The request is honored but as they look into the pit of bodies they are attacked by Giant ants, the "friends’ the autumn nymph must have sent. Gareth has a moment of despair as he finds the area his mate was tortured and killed in. Lucastor is not happy with this and get garath back into gear. They see that the ants have burrowed into the jail and take these tunnels out after fiora has said a prayer for her people here who have been killed.

The ant colony was mostly fighting so here are the highlights, Arianna put ant antenna on her head showing she has a weird sense of humor, lucastor came up with the idea that they should cover themselves in ant blood so the workers wouldn’t smell they were different and it worked, the group split for a while with the crew killing some centipedes, slime, and the ant queen while the other freed prisoners found a passage to the underdark. To escape braggen boatcrasher wrangles up some ants and they ride them out to safety. Gareth leaves without a goodbye, headed east while tik heads north for dwarven territory.

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Snipe Hunt
Looking for work

As the adventure begins the crew converges on the gates of the city of Vanguard. Lucastor Cookseius, Arianna, Belial, and Fiora have all at some point joined a caravan led by a Human noble men and his guard. His guard, dressed in black chainmale with white sashes, all back off when they see the road ahead of them blocked by a gang of orc raiders who have attacked and killed some merchants. As this is happening, Braggen Boatcrasher(preferring to take the woods other than the road) comes upon the scene. The crew of random adventurers comes together and defends the lord, killing the ruthless orcs. The lord thanks them and asks that they visit him if they are ever in the eastern provinces, however being somewhat absent minded forgets to mention his name or where to reach him.

Night falls and the crew all take rooms at the Horney Unicorn tavern and inn where the lord had bought them all a round before he left. Called there by a shifty goblin who tells them his master seeks their unique abilities for a job, they wait for him to arrive. The tiefling Sorcerer Belial is drunk and plays cards with a group of goblins and halfing. Braggen Boatcrasher the half-orc Barbarian drinks at the bar, befriending the half-dwarf bartender who owns the establishment. Lucastor the human gladiator also drinks at the bar, though keeps watch on the other within, not yet trusting anyone. Arianna the reserved and eccentric eladrin Cleric of the Raven Queen sits in the back smoking rolled tobacco and observing the rest of the tavern. Fiora, a deva Invoker of the sun god Pelor flirts with various men and woman around the bar. They shortly all see a pale man in a white cowboy hat with the traditional clothing of a horse wrangler sitting with his feet up on a large table, he gestures for the other to come over. Lucastor shows that he will be at the bidding of no man by staying put until the man’s goblin servant comes and gets him.

The man, hereafter called white hat, want them for a job to kill the hobgoblin head of a goblin clan. He claims that the clan has been attacking merchants going twords the eastern provinces. After some questioning he reveals that he does have some personal stake in it and that he is more than he appears to be. The crew takes this to mean he is a crime lord and it certainly appears that way. They all agree to take the job(after some haggling) and go to sleep.

That night they have nightmares of their deaths, a vision of a succubus, undead goblins, clockwork people, and a single word…
Mechanus

The next day they awake and are guided by the goblin servant named splurg to the abandoned mine where the clan lives. They enter the mine and quickly kill a group of goblins who appear to be guards. They than descend into the mine shaft.

They reach the bottom of the mine shaft, it is pitch black. The path forward has collapsed but there is a door set into the a stone wall. On the other side of the door is are 4 pikes with bodies impaled upon them. Observing the room Arianna sees a trap set into the ground. Lucastor and Boatcrasher remove the pikes and the group moves around it. However arianna notices something else, a secret door. They move through and find a statue of the Grand Devil Asmodeus, Lord of the Nine Hells. A pool of blood forms under his stature, secreted by wounds all over the statues body. The crew decides to move on to the next room and come back for the statue.

When they enter the next room they here groaning and shuffling but upon inspection the room is filled with only dead goblin bodies. Before they can investigate what happened the bodies begin to rise one after another. Using magic and their combat abilities the zombies are destroyed.
Lucastor tears of the jaw of one of the goblins and compares it to the wounds on the others after arianna recognizes them as bite marks. Braggen takes a closer look and realizes the wounds were made by some kind of demon. They move through the rest of the goblin clan base, finding only a magic flask of endless ale and more undead goblins. As they reach the final room they find something even more unnerving, their hobgoblin quarry, tortured and killed with a trident in his chest.
Suddenly out of the shadows comes a large muscular demon, blood red from lack of skin. he is surrounded by more undead goblins. A fight ensues and the heroes are able to over come the demon, Boatcrasher taking a trophy of a tooth for his collection.

On the return home they stop for the night to rest, after building camp and falling to sleep arianna, who is meditating, notices strange spiders who quickly jump into the camp and attack. The spiders are destroyed, though barely.

When the crew finally gets back to Vanguard they find that the guards at the front gate have been hung by some magical blue noose. It hangs still in the air, tied to nothing. They enter the town and find that everywhere they go, everyone has suffered the same fate as the guards. Men, Women, Children, all hung from the same rope.
As they get to town they see soldiers who appear to have just arrived, they stand next to a woman who is sobbing into her frock.
As they get closer the woman looks up at them, her face turns white with fear
“IT’S THEM, THEY DID THIS TO US!”

Adventure Ends.

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